This case involved an appeal of an ex parte reexamination of a patent that expired during the reexamination proceedings. Here, after the examiner issued a final rejection, but before consideration by the PTAB. During reexamination, the PTO applies the broadest reasonable interpretation standard for claim construction while the patent is in force. But, once the patent expires, the PTO applies the Phillips standard, because the claims can no longer be amended. According, here, the PTAB erred by using the broadest reasonable interpretation standard even after the patent had expired. However, that error was harmless, because even under the Phillips standard, the claims would not be construed as narrowly as CSB contends.
In re: CSB-System International, Inc., Case No. 2015-1832 (August 9, 2016); Opinion by: Stoll, joined by Newman and Moore; Appealed From: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Read the full opinion here.